BY NICHOLAS ABE
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom is not letting go since his Bauchi State counterpart, Governor Bala Mohammed, accused him of being a Fulani hater and has done so much to cast the tribe in bad light before the public.
Ortom on Monday landed a hard punch on Mohammed, suggesting that the Bauchi governor might be a terrorist based on his utterances supporting herdsmen for carrying AK-47 assault rifles to defend themselves.
“I wouldn’t want to be joining issues with my brother, friend, and colleague Bauchi Governor. But since he has continued to vilify, intimidate and blackmail me. It is said that silence is consent. I am compelled to respond to him.
“I am beginning to think that my brother, the governor of Bauchi State is part of the terrorist Fulani organisation that is terrorising this country.
“Why do I say this? This is the same governor who took the oath of office to protect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This constitution does not leave room for allowing foreign herdsmen to come in without valid papers.
“This is a man who says that a Fulani man is a global man and can come in from anywhere and enter Nigeria. It is quite disappointing to hear a governor who took the oath of office …maybe he should go back and check the oath of office he took to check maybe the constitution gives room for foreign terrorist Fulani herdsmen to come into Nigeria,” Ortom said while addressing journalists in Makurdi, Benue State capital.
Ortom said he did not know what part of the Nigerian Constitution supports Bala Mohammed’s justification of Fulani herdsmen bearing arms to protect themselves.
He called on Governor Mohammed to render an unreserved apology and learn from the provisions of the constitution that land, both territorial, forest, and aquatic, are vested on the governor of a state who holds them in trust, instead of indulging in inciting Fulani herdsmen against innocent Nigerians.
Mohammed had last Friday while trying to clarify his earlier comment justifying the carrying of guns by Fulani herders, said that he used AK-47 as “a figure of speech” for protection.
“It is a figure of speech to show you the despondence, the desperation and frustration and the agony that this particular person is exposed to by his own people, by his own tribe and by other tribes who have all seen him as a criminal and therefore, he has the inalienable right to protect himself,” the governor said on Channels Sunrise Daily, further burying himself in the hole that he was trying to get out of.
Mohammed’s comment on armed Fulani herdsmen had triggered a wave of condemnation from his counterparts and Nigerians alike, increasing calls for the prohibition of open-grazing.